Discover the Wonders of Yosemite in December: 5 Stunning Sights

Yosemite National Park in December is a true winter wonderland, offering a unique and magical experience for visitors. While some areas of the park may be inaccessible due to snowfall, the open areas provide a stunning backdrop of snow-capped peaks, frozen waterfalls, and a serene, peaceful atmosphere.

Accessibility and Weather

During the winter months, Yosemite Valley and Wawona remain accessible by car, while Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are closed. However, the Glacier Point/Badger Pass Road is plowed to the Badger Pass Ski Area, where both downhill and cross-country skiing are popular.

The average temperature in Yosemite Valley and Wawona in December is a high of 47 and a low of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (8/-2 degrees Celsius). Visitors should be prepared for snowy and cold weather, and tire chains are often required on park roads.

Iconic Viewpoints and Attractions

Yosemite National Park in December

One of the most famous overlooks in the entire park, the Tunnel View, is worth a stop in December as the pines and peaks are topped with snow, and there is a winter hush over everything around you. Yosemite Valley Chapel is also worth a visit, as it is most beautiful in winter with snow warping around its snug red walls and single steeple.

Hetch Hetchy is a great place for snowshoeing, fishing, wildlife viewing, and seeing waterfalls in December. The famous El Capitan and Half Dome are not to be missed, as they take on a new feel with their mantle of pure white snow.

Photography and Hiking

December is a great time to explore Yosemite without the crowds, and the beauty and majesty of snow in the Valley make the park very photography-friendly. Visitors should ensure they catch sunrise or sunset from Tunnel View, just outside the Valley.

There are also great hiking options in the Valley, Hetch Hetchy, Wawona, and Mariposa Grove. Visiting the Ansel Adams Gallery or the Yosemite Museum, both located in Yosemite Valley, is also recommended.

Costs and Lodging

In terms of costs, a 7-day vehicle pass to Yosemite National Park costs $35, and an annual pass costs $70. Lodging rates vary depending on the type of accommodation, but there are often great rates for last-minute lodging during the winter months.


Yosemite National Park in December offers a unique and magical experience for visitors who are prepared for snowy and cold weather. With fewer crowds, the beauty and majesty of snow in the Valley make the park very photography-friendly, and there are great hiking options and other activities to enjoy.

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